Negligence is a breach in the duty of care owed by one person to another. If a property owner fails to use reasonable care under the circumstances by either doing something that they should not have done, or not doing something that should have done, they can be considered negligent. A common premises liability question in Los Angeles County is when can you hold a property owner liable for your injuries? In basic terms, premises liability cases involves the responsibility of property owners to maintain safe conditions for anyone on their property. If an accident or injury occurs to a visitor, or tenant living on the property, the owner the property is legally liable, if it can be proven their negligence led to the injury. The liability of the owner to the injured party is determined on the basis of the negligence on the part of the property owner. Under California negligence laws, any person who is injured due to an owner's negligent management of their property might be entitled to compensatory damages. The absolute key term here is “negligence.” However, determining negligence will depend on specific circumstances, which includes the duty the owner owes visitors to ensure their safety. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Injury Justice Law Firm LLP can explain how this duty can shift within the context of the specific situation. There are several standards that exist to define negligence, or a failure to exercise reasonable ordinary care. For example, determining negligence in a car accident case requires a certain set of criteria; a premises liability case will require another set. A property owner has a legal duty to make sure conditions don't exist on their premises that could lead to an injury of other people. This could include customers in a store, guest at a residence, among other locations.
If you have been injured on another person's property due to negligence, you should consult with a Los Angles person injury lawyer at our law firm. Our attorneys will need to thoroughly review the facts and circumstances in order to determine if you are eligible for compensation. Now that we have discussed a basic overview of negligence above, let's take a closer look at the legal language involving negligence.
Legal Elements of Negligence
If a person sustains an injury on another individual's property, there are certain elements that have to be established in order to determine if they were negligent. These elements include:
- A duty the owner owes the injured party
- A breach of that duty by the property owner
- The actual injury
- The connection between the breach of duty and the injury
Again, it's critical to understand it must be shown the property owner had a responsibility to take steps that would to ensure people of the premises would not suffer harm. In order to pursue compensation, the person who was injured has to provide sufficient evidence the property owner was negligent in fulfilling their legal duty, and their negligence directly caused their injury.
A property owner's legal liability for injuries that resulted from alleged dangerous conditions on the premises will greatly depend on the scope of the owner's duty of care toward the injured person and whether or not the duty was breached. The relationship between the owner and injured person is a material factor in determining the exact degree of care required by an owner. This will typically vary depending on whether the injured party was invited, or a trespasser. Someone who was invited is anyone who enters the property with an implied invitation by the owner. A property owner owes the highest duty of care to an invitee. For example, store owners are legally held to a high standard of care or duty to for the safety of their visitors. A store owner can be considered negligent if they fail to inspect the premises regularly or warn of any dangers.
Common Example of Negligence by a Property Owner
In Los Angeles County, The most common type of negligence occurs in premises liability cases, such as a slip and fall accident. There are many places where premises liability accidents happen. This includes a shopping mall, department store, grocery store, or an apartment building. A requirement for a slip-and-fall case is that the owner had actual or constructive knowledge of defect on the premises. In a slip and fall case, this requirement can be established by the injured person by proving that:
- The owner placed the object or substance on the floor
- The owner knew it was there, but negligently failed to remove it
- The object or substance was on the floor long enough to exercise a duty of care, and it should have been reasonably discovered and removed
In simple terms, the injured person has to prove the owner created the dangerous condition and could the property owner have prevented the accident? Remember, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage of injury to another person.
What is Duty of Care?
Under California personal injury law, a duty of ordinary care is a property owner's responsibility to behave by using an appropriate amount of care to not cause any harm to other people. In other words, it is the legal responsibility put on a person by society to interact with other people in a safe and acceptable manner to avoid causing injuries. It's not defined by what one person believes is reasonable, but by a group of jurors who must all agree by applying a standard of what a reasonable prudent person would have done by exercising ordinary care under the same circumstances. Negligence is the key concept in most personal injury cases. If a case actually makes it to trail, it is for the jury in each case, based on the instructions by the judge, to decide whether under the specific facts of the case, the property owner was negligent and breached their duty of care to the injured party.
Call a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured due to negligence of a property owner, you should consult with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Injury Justice Law Firm LLP. We have the legal knowledge and resources necessary to successfully litigate your personal injury case. Whether your case involves a slip and fall accident, premises liability case, construction accident, or any other type of incident that was caused by negligence, our experienced lawyers will guide you through the legal process. We can explain the key concepts of negligence and duty of care and work aggressively work to ensure you obtain full compensation for your injuries. We offer a free case evaluation and don't charge a fee unless we win your case. Call our law firm at 310-734-7974 to review the details of your case.
Related Blog: Do You Have a California Premises Liability Claim?